Covid tests in markets postponed

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BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO

The surveillance testing in the three major markets of Bacolod City scheduled today has been moved to October 10 due to the change of schedule of the team of experts from the Department of Health Region 7, Bacolod City Administrator Em Ang said yesterday.

Ang said Dr. Jean Loreche, the head of Pathology Department and Chief Medtech Prince Balaba, could not be in Bacolod this weekend due to urgent matters in Cebu. They have rescheduled their trip next weekend and they will also be bringing the logistics, Ang said.

In the meantime, the city’s info drive and education campaign will continue in the markets, she said.

Executive assistant Ernie Pineda, head of the Quick Response Team (Extraction Cluster) of the Emergency Operations Center, said Bacolod has about 2,239 market vendors in the three major markets and a total of about 164 market personnel.

Pineda said those who will undergo swab tests will be issued a gate pass or permission ticket signed by the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and market supervisor to enter the market to sell.
Labels will be placed on their stalls indicating that they are “compliant”, or “on process” if they have not yet submitted to swab test, he said.

Pineda said if none of the vendors test positive, the market will be declared “COVID-19 free” and this will invite more customers.

Meanwhile, Councilor Wilson Gamboa, Jr. is questioning the “’mandatory” swab testing of market vendors in the three major markets of Bacolod City.

Under the Bacolod City Ordinance “granting emergency authority to the city mayor in the face of COVID-19 pandemic, “one of the measures granted to the mayor is to “conduct massive RT-PCR (swab) tests in the city.” But nowhere did the ordinance say, “mandatory, he said.

Gamboa said that although he is in favor of the “massive” swab tests, it should be grounded on the following: that the government should provide the necessary financial and food assistance to the patient and his family while he is under quarantine and the patient should be treated once he is found “positive” in a medical isolation facility.

Ang meanwhile said, “I most respectfully invite Councilor Gamboa to visit the EOC so that he will be properly informed of COVID-related activities and data. We have our daily briefing and data analysis at 8 a.m. everyday from Monday to Saturday,” she added.

He is the only councilor who has never been there yet. Other councilors have each offered to help by heading some clusters, she said.*

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